Review: Blue C and Down At Antones – Fort Perch Rock, New Brighton 08 Feb 2009
Posted on: Thursday, Feb 12, 2009
BLUES ON THE ROCK
Blue C & Down At Antone’s: Fort Perch Rock, New Brighton: 08.02.09
The latest of Raphael Callaghan’s Sunday afternoon gigs in the unusual surroundings of the Fort Perch Rock saw the return to action of top North West blues band, Down At Antone’s – back out with original frontmen Neil Partington, on vocals and guitar; and Ken Peace on harmonica – ably abetted by Glen Lewis (keyboards), Steve Brown (bass) and Nick Lauro (drums).
The rust was shaken off in a sparkling hour set of some old favourites and some new choice arrangements – kicking off with the Howling Wolf chestnut “Riding In The Moonlight” – which saw Ken Peace give the valves on his old trusty Fender amp a good workout with his big tone to the fore, and obligatory fine guitar and vocal from Neil Partington – who soldiered through the set despite being stricken with a heavy cold.
The funky “Shakey Ground” saw the band hit a great groove, until the power was lost! Undeterred Nick Lauro continued with a drum solo, accompanied by Ken Peace on acoustic harmonica, and a quick walkabout. The slow blues of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Cross Your Heart” was definitely a set highlight – tremendous soloing here from Messrs. Partington and Peace, and nice keyboard work from Glen Lewis.
Other treats in an all too quick set were the jazz standard “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” – which worked very well with the harmonica – and the rumba of “Poor Boy”, which actually featured on the band’s Paul Jones blues show session way, way back, as did the rollicking encore “Biting The Bullet”.
Great to see these guys out and about again – with further gigs to come at Warrington, Fleetwood and Colwyn Bay, with hopefully more in the pipeline.
Opening up proceedings was the genial host, Raphael Callaghan (guitar, harmonica and vocals), with partner Christine Purnell (bass), together they make up Blue C, delivering a lovely varied set, starting with Raphael a cappella on the new song “Too Much Rain”, about the perils of global warming.
An old favourite was the great Skip James tune, “Illinois Blues”, with KC Douglas’s “Mercury Blues” – another long-time favourite, being given a rousing airing. A most surprising cover, which worked really well, was a song Raphael had taken a fancy to and decided to have a go at – chart-topping Duffy’s “Rockferry” – given a folky blues feel, and none the worse for it!